Since that first experience in Munich, I’ve had the opportunity to play more duets with Chick and with several other great musicians: Ralph Towner, Steve Swallow and Paul Bley; but most importantly, Makoto Ozone. Makoto was 21 when he joined by band in 1984, and almost immediately we started including duets in our concerts. Before long, we could practically read each other’s minds when we played together.
Besides developing into a great improviser, soloist, and writer, Makoto is an expert in the widest range of styles of almost any musician I know. Being able to explore all kinds of jazz (and some types of music outside of jazz) has been one of the highlights of our collaboration. When we finished recording and I listened to these songs, I was struck by the great variety of our repertoire, everything from standards and contemporary jazz to tango and 1930’s stride. I hadn’t realized how much music we explored over this past decade.